Switzerland are England’s main rivals in Group E.
England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that he would have preferred to face Switzerland later in the qualification campaign, Sky Sports reports.
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The Three Lions face their biggest test of the qualification campaign when they play the Swiss in Basle on Monday. Preparations for the game haven’t been ideal with star striker Daniel Sturridge being ruled out for the match and England’s performance in their last game against Norway being roundly criticised.
Along with England, Switzerland were the only side in Group E to qualify for this summer’s World Cup and with that in mind, Hodgson would have preferred to face his sides main rivals later in qualifying.
”In an ideal world, we’d have chosen to play Switzerland, who are our major rival in this group at least on paper, later in the schedule,” Hodgson said.
“Then we’d have more time to work with the players as a group, which would give us benefits but you have to play the matches when they are due.”
Despite his side’s performance during the World Cup in Brazil, Hodgson believes supporters should take encouragement from the fact that most players in his current squad have played in the Champions League.
”I think there are lots of reasons to be cheerful if you are able to put the fact behind you that the World Cup was a major disappointment,” he said.
”When you put that together you have a large group of players who, if they continue how they have started with their clubs, it bodes well for two years’ time.
”In two years’ time they will have played a lot more European football for their clubs and that will benefit us.”
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